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Cliches starting with H

ClicheMeaning
had his bell rungIf someone his bell rung, it means that he was knocked out due to being hit hard in a fight, most commonly in a boxing match. Get his bell rung is an idiom used I place of someone being knocked out in the literal sense, where someone was punched in the face or head and it knocked him out for a short period of time. It may also be used figuratively for someone who was brought down to a lower level.
half a loaf is better than noneHalf a loaf is better than none is an idiom which is speaking of the fact that getting only part of what you wanted is better than getting nothing at all. This phrase is commonly used to respond to someone who is complaining about only getting part of something they desire, and instead of appreciating their half a loaf they are instead complaining about the amount they received. This phrase indicates the importance of appreciating even a little bit of wealth because it is better than none.
Halt! Who goes there!Halt! Who goes there! Is a phrase which refers to a sentry, or someone standing guard, who used to shout this at people who were approaching the gates of where they were guarding, and they did not know who this person was. It was originally used by guards of this nature but is now a cliched term for someone referring to another person approaching they do not know or recognize; it is also commonly used in stage productions.
handle it with kid glovesTo handle something with kid gloves on means to treat something carefully and delicately, as if the person is as sensitive as a child. This phrase is typically used when there is a dilemma or crisis in which the person you must confront is more sensitive and therefore you use your kid gloves. This can also be said when confronting a situation in which you want to treat it carefully and delicately.
hanky pankyHanky panky is the phrase used for when you are talking about sexual activity or flirtatious behavior, especially when it is done in secret. It was commonly used in the 1940s and 1950s when describing any type of physical act between two people. It can also be used for simply flirtatious behavior or even as a more figurative term of two people or groups of people acting in a certain type of way.
happy as a clamHappy as a clam is the expression in which someone is very happy and content. This idiom relates to the fact that a clam looks to be smiling when it is open. If you are happy as a clam, you are constantly smiling and content with your life and the way its going. While happy as a clam is more commonly used for someone who is generally a happy person, it can also describe someones mood during a specific situation.
happy as a larkHappy as a lark is another way of saying someone is very happy; the phrase originates from the cheerful birdsong of larks. When you hear a larks birdsong, it sounds very cheery and happy and like they dont have a care in the world. The same can be said for someone who is happy as a lark as this person seems overly content and happy in general, or about any given situation.
happy as a pig in mudTo be happy as a pig in mud is a way to show how very happy you are since pigs in the mud are often very excited and pleased to be in the mud. The phrase is another way to say like a kid in a candy store. Happy as a pig in mud is usually in reference to someones frame of mind during a specific situation in which they are very pleased with the way something has turned out, and very excitable as a result.
happy camperA happy camper is someone who is a very happy person, whether in general or due to a specific situation. It is slightly more common to use the phrase a happy camper about someone who has just succeeded in solving a problem or who has finished a large work project or assignment. A happy camper can be anyone who is pleased with themselves, their work or simply a happy and content person in general.
hard as a rockHard as a rock is a common saying which refers to something that is very hard since rocks are some of the hardest objects on Earth. Hard as a rock can be used more in a literal sense when speaking about an actual object that is very hard to the touch (but not really hard as an actual rock) or it can be used figuratively when discussing something that is hard or difficult to do. It is fairly typical to use the latter, where a situation is hard as a rock.
hard to believeIf something is hard to believe, it is very difficult to believe in that is seems like a far-fetched concept. Saying something is hard to believe is another way of saying the idea is so amazing or ridiculous that you cant seem to wrap your head around it and think of it in a realistic, logical way. A far-fetched concept is typically something which is difficult for anyone to understand, which makes it hard to believe.
hard to swallowHard to swallow is an idiom which is speaking of something, such as an idea or concept which is very hard to believe or to acknowledge. This is usually in reference to a thought, idea or action that is so awe-inspiring it is just hard for you to understand the practicality of it and wrap your head around the idea. If something is hard to swallow, you may understand it might be factual, but cant help deny its validity.
has a chip on his shoulderIf someone has a chip on their shoulder, the meaning of this is that they have a sense of inferiority or a perceived grievance in a public way. This person is typically very na
has a few loose screwsTo have a few loose screws is the phrase which is used for people who act in a crazy way as well as being eccentric and silly. This is a common idiom which refers to a person who acts so different in a very exaggerated and eccentric way, that they seem almost crazy in the sense that their mental capacity is quite different from others. While they may not literally have a mental illness, they sometimes act as if they do.
has a green thumbHas a green thumb is an idiom used when describing someone who seems to be naturally talented in gardening and caring for flowers and plants. To have a green thumb means you are able to tend to your vegetable and herb garden, flowers, plants and other greenery with care and concentration and these plants will thrive under your care. The opposite of a green thumb is known as a black thumb in which the person seems to kill nearly all of their plants and dont understand how to properly care for them.
has a way with wordsWhen someone is told they have a way with words, this means that they seem to have a natural talent in a stylish use of words which is often beneficial in some professions. Having a way with words means you know just what to say and how to say it in almost any type of situation, which can greatly benefit you in personal friendships and relationships, business and other types of atmospheres.
has bats in her belfryThe idiom, has bats in her belfry, is another way of saying someone acts in a crazy and eccentric way. If you have ever imagined bats in a belfry, they would be acting somewhat crazy and out of sorts to say the least. Figuratively, the phrase is referring to a person who seems to act different than others, unique and eccentric in a way that is not common of other people they come across.
has egg on his faceHas egg on his face is the idiom most commonly used when describing someone who is very embarrassed by something he has done in public, some as someone who went out in public with a dirty face. If you have eggs on your face and are seen by other people, you will be quite embarrassed by this display. Therefore, the phrase is referring to someone that has done something in front of others which has made them feel embarrassed.
haste makes wasteHaste makes waste is the phrase which refers to someone who makes mistakes when they are being hasty, or acting too quickly without paying attention to details. The meaning of haste makes waste is that if you move too quickly or act too quickly without paying attention to the small and important details, you can make mistakes and make the situation worse, whereas someone who does not rush through things, has a better chance of success.
hate his gutsHate his guts is another way of saying that you hate everything about someone, including his guts. By saying you hate someones guts, you are trying to say that you hate someone so severely and so completely that you hate absolutely everything about him from his skin straight through to his guts and bones. It is a sardonic way of mentioning the level at which you dislike another person.
hats off to youHats off to you is the common idiom which means to give someone honor after doing something successfully and often spectacular. Several years ago, people would take their hat off and point it towards to the person as somewhat of a bow to something they did which can be honored or rewarded, which is where this phrase originated. It is now spoken as a way to tell someone congratulations.
have a nice dayHave a nice day is a very common expression which is used when someone wants to tell another person to have a good day. This is simply a polite gesture which is wishing this person will enjoy the rest of their day and very commonly used. To have a nice day, means to have a peaceful, fun, enjoyable day which is free of stress, worry and troubles. It is often spoken quickly and as a gesture to someone you know, or even someone you are just passing by.
havent got a row to hoeHavent got a row to hoe is another way of saying you dont have any resources or money such as in the case of someone who is a farmer but does not own any land in which they can tend. When someone is talking about not having a row to hoe in the literal sense, they are speaking of not having property to their name which they are able to tend to, so figuratively, it means to lack resources.
havent seen hide nor hair of himHavent seen neither hide nor hair of him is an idiom which refers to not seeing someone or something for an extended period of time. It is often in response to a query of looking for someone, whether in the short or long term. Often, someone will say that have not seen hide nor hair of him when it is someone who has left or disappeared rather suddenly and has not been in contact with them since they left.
he got plasteredHe got plastered is typically a response to someone who got drunk or intoxicated either by alcohol or recreational drugs. Plastered is a slang term commonly used for someone who is highly intoxicated. This person is not just drunk, but they have had to much to drink that they are often passed out, stumbling or showing other signs of being very intoxicated. The term can also be used for someone who is under the influence of drugs.
he has pullIf someone is told they have pull, it means that they have some kind of influence on a person or group of people. The person who has pull is typically in a place of dominance over the rest of the group, whether they are the leader of a notable company or organization, or more likely, they know someone higher up who can benefit the rest of the group in whatever this phrase is relating to.
he was just a port in the stormTo say he was just a port in the storm is a figurative term for saying he (or she) is having serious trouble and unable to accept any sort of solution to the trouble, whether it is a good solution or not. To be a port in the storm, you would be having a serious dilemma and have extreme difficulties getting out of the current situation as it considered a big crisis. This is used in reference to a person who figuratively is having difficulties with few solutions.
he who hesitates is lostHe who hesitates is lost is an idiom which refers to a person that spends too much time deliberating about what to do and then loses the chance to act altogether. The purpose of this phrase is to show the importance of acting quickly and not to lose out. If you hesitate on doing something or saying something, it is highly likely you are going to lose the opportunity and it may not come around again.
he won, hands downSaying he won, hands down means to say someone has won matter-of-factly which has been proven and there is no way or reason to deny this fact. Hands down refers to the completeness at which someone has won, whether spoken literally such as a competition or figuratively like in the case of winning an argument or solving a dilemma. When you say someone won, hands down, it shows there is no doubt as to who won.
head honchoA head honcho is someone who is an important and influential person, typically the head of a company or organization. The head honcho can also be the head of a family, such as the father or grandfather, and someone who people seem to turn to when they need help, assistance, guidance, or advice. The head honcho is also often the head of a type of group, gathering or organization who everyone turns to.
heard it through the grapevineHeard it through the grapevine is a way of saying you heard something through informal contact, typically information passed through several people before it reached you. Through the grapevine is usually in reference to someone that passed by several different people and along the way, the information or story got skewed slightly. Usually the more people that hear and repeat something, the more varied it will become by the time you hear it.
heaven help usHeaven help us, Good grief! Is a common expression which is used to say you are surprised and slightly ashamed by something that someone has just done or said. By saying heaven help us, this person is pointing out that was just happened is so impractical, hard to believe, and illogical that only the almighty God (in some religious beliefs) could possibly be the one to help out in this type of situation.
heaven sentHeaven sent is an idiom which refers to something occurring at an opportune time which seems lucky in the instance it arrives. Even for someone who does not follow a religion which believes in heaven and hell, heaven is often the symbol for all things good, right and pure. For this reason, when you say something or someone is heaven sent, it seems so amazing and lucky that it must have come from a magical place.
heavens to BetsyHeavens to Betsy is a phrase which is commonly used as a mild exclamation of surprise. This phrase originates from 1857 in the US Journal Ballous dollar monthly magazine. It is used somewhat rarely nowadays, and most commonly people who say Heavens to Betsy dont know how long ago it was spoken. Heavens to Betsy is a way of saying something you have seen or heard is very surprising and hard to believe.
hen peckedTo be hen pecked means to be dominated and harassed with persistent nagging. Literally, being hen pecked would involve a hen pecking you with its beak over and over again, persistently and without pause. Figuratively, this phrase means that someone is constantly harassing or nagging you and refuses to let up even for a moment. It can also be related to being dominated by another person.
her biological clock is tickingIf someone says her biological clock is ticking, she is saying that as she gets older her ability to bear children diminishes and therefore needs to get pregnant quickly. As a woman ages, her viable eggs deplete and therefore is decreasing her chances of getting pregnant. A biological clock is ticking means the woman is getting older and her chances of having her own, biological child, is diminishing quickly.
heres mud in your eyeHeres mud in your eye is an expression used when someone wants to give an informal toast of people who are drinking together. Heres mud in your eye is another way of saying bottoms up or drink up, but is a phrase not as commonly used as these types of informal toasts. When it was popular, this cliche was spoken to a group of people who were about to start drinking together.
hes out to lunchHes out to lunch is an idiom which is the figurative meaning for not paying attention or dozing off; it can also be used for someone who is intoxicated. Someone being out to lunch is someone who is not all here, whether they mean mentally or physically. Physically would mean they are really not available due to being gone doing something, while mentally it refers to being intoxicated and not their normal self.
hes took the baitHe has took the bait is another way to say that someone has accepted something that was offered in ordered to give something to someone else who will receive some type of benefit from this. Someone taking the bait is usually a way of saying that this person was encouraged to do something by others in order to benefit them, and when he does what they wanted him to do, he therefore took the bait.
hidden agendaA hidden agenda is also known as an undisclosed plan, primarily one with an ulterior motive. When someone has a hidden agenda, it is typically referring to having another plan or course of action that they have kept secret and not disclosed to anyone else. The hidden agenda is usually kept secret because by doing this, it will benefit the person who has the agenda somehow.
higgledy-piggledyHiggledy-piggledy is the phrase most commonly used when someone or something is extremely disordered or confused. You may not recognize this as an idiom spoken much nowadays, but it was once a cliche used often in everyday conversation by people who mean to talk about someone or something that seems very far-fetched, hard to believe and quite confusing or confused in the case of a person.
high and the mightyThe high and the mighty is someone who is behaving as if they are superior and more important than other people. To be high and mighty means that you feel superior to others, as in that you think you are better than them whether it be due to more advanced talents and skilled, naturally better than everyone else, or a superiority complex you were born into such as being born into money and influence.
high as a kiteHigh as a kite is the idiom used for someone who is very high in the air when used literally, and someone who is drunk or drugged when used figuratively. High as a kite is much more commonly used for someone who is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol but it is sometimes used in more of a literal sense. You will usually hear someone is high as a kite when they seem to be acting different than normal, which is common of someone high on drugs.
high hopesTo have high hopes about something means you are very confident about it and feel that it will go well in the future. You can have high hopes about a situation, resolution, invention or project, and even a person. High hopes is an idiom often used when you expect something to go just as planned and truly believe it is going to work out in a positive way with a high chance of success.
high on the hogHigh on the hog is the idiom used when referring to something or someone that affluent and luxurious. To be high on the hog means that this something is very luxurious, often with fine and expensive elements. A person that is high on the hog is typically coming from money, influential and extremely wealthy. High on the hog is typically in reference to a person who comes from money or who has earned a good deal of money.
highway robberyHighway robbery is a very common cliche term used when speaking of getting a very high price or fee from something, when other people feel the fee is too high and not warranted. Literally speaking, highway robbery is when thieves will steal from travelers who are on a public road. This is where the phrase highway robbery comes from but now is a figurative way of saying someone has robbed you by charging high fees.
his elevator doesnt go to the top floorHis elevator doesnt go to the top floor is a slightly more polite way of saying someone isnt very smart. This is also another way to say someone may be mentally incapable of rational and logical thoughts, but it most often related to someones lack of intellect. By using an elevator going to the top floor in the idiom, they are talking about top floor as in the brain, which means the intelligence level of the brain remains low.
his eyes are bigger than his stomachHis eyes are bigger than his stomach is a very commonly used and well-known cliche which is referring to the fact that many people take more than they could actually eat. To have eyes bigger than your stomach means a lot of food looks good to you and since youre very hungry, you think you can eat it all when in fact your stomach is not able to fit as much food as you have taken.
history repeats itselfHistory repeats itself is another way of saying the same types of events seem to happen over and over again whether to the same person or due to someone not learning from their mistakes. When history repeats itself, they are speaking of this in the literal sense where this something they are talking about, is actually happening over and over again. This can be an argument, a situation, event or anything pertaining to a repeated action.
hit the roadTo hit the road means to depart on begin your journey. This can be used in a variety of different situations such as going on a road trip where it is slightly literal, or just to leave for home, work or another place. Hitting the road is used in any type of phrase with the intent that you are about to leave, usually with a vehicle hence the usage of road.
hit the sackHit the sack is the idiom used when you are talking about going to bed. Hitting the sack is pertaining to your head hitting the pillow (which several decades ago meant someone using a sack for a pillow) whether this meant you are lying down or going to asleep. Nowadays, this phrase is commonly used when you are about to go to sleep. You may also hear it spoken as hit the hay which dates back to people laying in hay or straw.
hoisted by your own petardTo be hoisted by your own petard means to be injured by the very device or weapon you meant to use to injure someone else. A petard was a small bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications and occasionally the person using the bomb would be injured by the backfire. The term being hoisted by your own petard relates to this in that when you try to injure someone else with a weapon, you in turn injure yourself.
hold a candle toTo hold a candle to something means to compare it to something else that is a known authority and to be unfit even to hold an inferior position. If you are holding a candle literally to something, you are forcing the light of the candle to help you see things more clearly. In the figurative sense, holding a candle to something means to have higher expectations of something that is too inferior to be deserved of this.
hold down the fortHold down the fort is a common idiom used when you want to take care of a place while someone else is gone, usually the person who is usually there. This is most often used in relation to a home or business. If you are holding down the fort of someones some, you are otherwise occupying it to take care of it and watch over it until the person whose whom it is comes back home.
hold your horsesHold your horses is another way of saying that you are going too fast or doing something with too much urgency and is a request to slow things down. Hold your horses originates from holding the reins of a horse that is moving too quickly where it wont benefit either of you. Figuratively, to hold your horses means virtually the same thing where this person is going much too quickly and being too excitable.
hold your tongueTo hold your tongue means that you have said enough, gone overboard in what you have said out loud or that you are saying rude and offensive things. This is usually said after you say something offensive or you are not allowed to say such as a child who is cursing. To hold your tongue means to be quiet and not speak anymore which may be dont say anything or dont speak in such an offensive way.
holier than thouHolier than thou is the idiom used for when someone has an attitude of being superior to everyone else and self-righteous. A person who is holier than thou feels that because of their status, they deserve more in life and are better than other people. This type of person is often very self centered and self righteous with a superior demeanor and is often born into money or influence.
home is where the heart isHome is where the heart is a very common and well-known figure of speech which is referring to people longing to be at home. It is also another way to say that your home is wherever you choose to be whether it is the house you grew up in or a new home you have made for yourself. It can also be a temporary home such as an apartment or hotel room which you have made your home for a certain period of time.
home is where you hang your hatHome is where you hang your hat is an idiom which expresses the notion that your home is anywhere you happen to be, rather than being overly nostalgic or sentimental about one house or place being your home. That you can make a home anywhere you happen to be, whether you have lived in the same house for 20 years, or you just moved into a studio apartment near your job; wherever you hang your hat is where your home ought to be.
hook, line, and sinkerHook, line and sinker is the term used when you are talking about all of something, to say completely and utterly. If you say something is hook, line and sinker you are speaking of it being completely this way, with no doubts or misgivings. Hook, line and sinker is most commonly used when someone is talking about finishing a task in a way to say they completed every aspect and detail of this task.
hot to trotHot to trot is a cliche used when describing the feeling of being very eager to begin something. It is also sometimes used in reference to being excited or sexually excited in some cases. For the most part, to be hot to trot means to be very eager and excited for something that is about to happen, often to the point of nervousness and impatience. While used commonly in reference to sexual excitement, this is not always the case.
hot under the collarTo be hot under the collar means to be very angry to the point where you are irate with someone or regarding something that has just happened. The phrase comes from the concept that when you are so mad your skin gets hot; you start sweating under your collar and must loosen your tie and unbutton your shirt. If you are mad enough for this to happen, you are hot under the collar.
hotter than a mouse in a wool sockHotter than a mouse in a wool sock is a figure of speech not often used nowadays but which means that it is very hot, whether speaking of the weather or something that feels hot to the touch like boiling water or food you just cooked. Hotter than a mouse in a wool sock is usually pertaining to it being a hot day and relates to the fact that a mouse stuck inside a wool sock would get very hot indeed.
hotter than a snakes ass in a wagon rutHotter than a snakes ass in a wagon rut is a colorful phrase used to describe the severity of how hot it is. While this is usually pertaining to the hot weather outside or even the hot pavement, it can also be speaking of how you currently feel temperature wise or even food you just cooked or water that is near boiling hot. Hotter than a snakes ass in a wagon rut may not be used often but at once point it was a cliche due to its overuse.
hotter than a two dollar pistolHotter than a two dollar pistol is an idiom used for when something is hot, usually an item, but it can also be related to the weather outside on a particularly hot day. The saying comes from the fact that a two-dollar pistol which came out in the 19th century was considered a very cheaply made pistol which got really hot to the touch after it was fired. For this reason, the idiom hotter than a two dollar pistol is used to describe something that feels hot to the touch.
how do I love thee?How do I love thee? Is the first part of a poem Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote that become a famous piece of literature and love sonnet. The poem which begins How do I love thee? Let me count the ways described in detail how she loves someone, therefore this saying has become a cliche which is often used in stage productions and referenced in the media. People often say this as a way to express their love for someone.
how do you like them apples?How do you like them apples? Is an idiom which is often used to gloat about something you did well or that happened for you or to express bemusement or irritation at something. This phrase can be used as a positive or negative statement, which often depends on the tone of voice. When spoken with a pleasant demeanor, it typically has the meaning of gloating about something, but in the negative form, someone will use it with sarcasm.
how goes the battle?How goes the battle? Is a phrase used when you want to ask someone how the battle went. This battle can be an actual fight or battle or competition in the literal term, or be more of a generalization about the battles or troubles of every day life. When used figuratively, How goes the battle? Is usually a way of asking someone how they are doing, if their life is improving, and just being overly curious about their dilemma and if it is improving.
hows it hanging?Hows it hanging? Is a very common and well-known idiom which has become a cliche due to how much it is used in every day conversation. When someone asks you hows it hanging, what they are asking is how you are, how are you doing, and how have you been. Hows it hanging is commonly used in polite conversation simply as a way to make small talk and get an update on how someone has been doing lately.
hows that for a ______Hows that for a ______ is an idiom used for saying this is an excellent example of doing something, no matter what it is pertaining to. This is often used when someone wants to point out that they have just done a good job in completing something, or have seen something done in an excellent way, making a good example of it. Some examples of this phrase are Hows that for a first time? or Hows that for good luck?